• Premier League

Lucas calls for Coutinho patience

ESPN staff
February 19, 2013
Philippe Coutinho was on target against Swansea © PA Photos

Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva believes Reds new boy Philippe Coutinho can become one of the club's great players after scoring in his full debut on the weekend.

Coutinho, 20, arrived to much fanfare late in January after an inconsistent spell at Inter Milan, but fellow Brazilian Lucas is confident the youngster will quickly become accustomed to the style of English football.

"His reputation is very high back in Brazil but he left the country very early so we couldn't really see him play in the first team," Lucas said. "At Inter he didn't have as many chances as he thought he would have so here is a new challenge for him and he is really looking forward to it.

"He is still adapting and we were talking about the pace of the Premier League and even in the training sessions he can feel it is much quicker than Italy. He is trying to play quick because he knows he will need that tempo to be successful.

"It will take him time to settle but a goal will give him confidence and we could see there were positive things from him. Hopefully he will be a great player for now and for the future as well as he is only 20."

Liverpool's South American contingent - including Uruguayans Luis Suarez and Sebastian Coates - are expected to play a significant role in helping Coutinho adapt, although Lucas was reluctant to inform his national team-mate of the pressures he faced when moving to the Premier League in 2007.

""Every single young player who comes to the Premier League finds it difficult and it is going to be the same for him but we have a few South American players who can help him," he said.

"He has the skills and the ability to do well. We just need to keep positive with him and hopefully he will be okay. I really don't tell him what I went through in my early stages, I just told him how he will be successful here."

Liverpool have scored the fourth most goals this season, but their defensive lapses continue to attract scrutiny and defender Jose Enrique believes his side cannot rely solely on a strong attack.

"I think we are playing well. Against West Brom it was the same as Zenit, we had chances to score, made two mistakes and they scored," he said. "We were not lucky in scoring goals and I don't know what happened, maybe we lacked concentration, but we conceded two goals.

"This can happen but we have to try to make these errors not happen again and if we can keep a clean sheet we will score in a lot of games. We have Luis, (Daniel) Sturridge and now Coutinho as well so I think we can score a lot of goals."

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